close
Thursday July 18, 2024

Friendly ties

Local Emirati citizens say they used to consider Pakistan as their brotherly country in the past

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
June 14, 2024
The UAE’s flag flies outside the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. — AFP/File
The UAE’s flag flies outside the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. — AFP/File

I just returned to Islamabad after completing a three-day tour to the United Arab Emirates. During my stay in Dubai, I had various interactions with Pakistani immigrants and local Emirati citizens.

Local Emirati citizens say they used to consider Pakistan as their brotherly country in the past. Even today, the United Arab Emirates, known as the land of tolerance, peace and faith freedom, is the second largest home of the Pakistani immigrant community in the Middle East. Pakistani citizens are the second largest foreign community living in the UAE, whereas more than 400,000 Pakistanis are residing in Dubai.

According to the local Emiratis, they were very hurt and saddened by the recent behavior of Pakistani people. In this regard, they specifically mentioned the recent heavy rains in Dubai. In the critical time of facing a natural disaster, a lot of Pakistanis spread propaganda on social media that the real reason behind the sinking of Dubai was the construction of a Hindu temple. Similarly, parts of the Pakistani media in an irresponsible way reported that the UAE did not have the ability to face natural disasters.

Moreover, they were also very annoyed that the supporters of a political party in Pakistan were continuously promoting hate politics in their country. Last year, Sheikh Zayed Road was closed by a group of Pakistani protesters. The closure of highways in an international city like Dubai resulted in creating panic among people of various nationalities living there.

Regarding the construction of Hindu temples, many Emiratis are of the view that they respect all religions wholeheartedly. Currently, the Hindu community is the largest religious minority community living in the UAE. Now, when the entire world is eager to be a part of the UAE's society based on tolerance, brotherhood, respect and diversity, the authorities want to ensure interfaith harmony and faith freedom for all communities at their level best, as well as to restrict the entry of irresponsible and narrow-minded citizens of a few countries as part of precautionary measures.

Undoubtedly, bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have been cordial since day one and both countries collaborate in many fields, mainly in the sectors of banking, telecom, oil and energy.

The UAE also holds a unique significant position for Pakistani tourists and business travelers and this is why Pakistani nationals are requested to use social media responsibly. They must not engage in any negative activity on the internet, due to which the entire Pakistani nation has to suffer in such a way. At this time, there is a dire need to run a special campaign on social media to promote the Pakistan-UAE friendship.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council. He tweets/posts @RVankwani